The Objectification of Women in the Pop Music Genre

Turning on the radio or flipping the television, we often hear music surrounding us, especially popular music of the moment. Artists that appeal to masses sell out stadiums, play Madison Square Garden, and win Grammiesl We categorize these artists and the music they make under ‘pop‘ music. Artists such as Taylor Swift, who’s full-blown pop album 1989 sold over 1 million copies in its first week, or Beyonce, who’s self-titled surprise album become the fastest digital album of all time, who appeal to millions thrive and dominate pop music, Differing from other genres, the pop genre is one where women tend to dominant compared to their male counterparts.

Pop music, short for “popular music”, formed during the 1800 that, “is most in line with the tastes and interests of the urban middle class,” (New Grove)

With its ability to reach a large audience, pop music is typically made for the masses and has grown to encompass a number of smaller genres such as rock, R&B, country, disco, and much more, Typically, pop songs are about three and a half minutes long filled with electric guitars, pianos, drums, bass and repeating lyrics, a focus on melodies, and a catchy hook, Some artists today that fall under the pop category include: Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Burno Mars, Rihanna, and more.

We can find pop music videos played on a number of television networks as well as online Two of the most popular networks are Music Television (MTV) and VH1. Online, sites like Youtube have the ability to house numbers of videos including pop music videos Music videos for pop reinforced gender stereotypes through male aggression and dominance as well as female objectification and displays of sexuality.

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However, it opposed gender stereotypes by having women in charge of their objectification and sexuality Findings Our group coding results found the highest amounts of tallies within objectification and implicit or explicitly sexual displays from female actors, We also found lower amounts of aggressive compared to that of objectification. Additionally, most of the music videos watched had a female lead, Wall’s first theory states, “Female lead performers would display more subordinate nonverbal behavior than male lead performers.” Our results did not support this hypothesis. Rather we found that female artists within pop music tended to use their music to empower themselves therefore becoming more dominant than male leads. Although, we also noted that females still tended to objectify themselves within this role of empowerment. One example of this is Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” which was a summer hit a few years ago.

The video centers on Perry who is barely clothed throughout the entire video. Funhermore, we looked at Wallis’ second hypothesis, which is, “Male lead performers will display more dominant modes of nonverbal behavior than female lead performers.“ Our grounds findings supported this hypothesis, Overall male lead performers tended to have a more dominant role in music videos compared to the other videos watched with female leads. Where females used their sexuality, males used aggression and dominance One example is Maroon S’s “Animal” music video where the lead singer, Adam Levine, can be seen covered in blood. Similarly to Wallis‘ second hypothesis, our groups findings also supported Wallis‘ third theory which reads, “Female lead performers will display more overt sexuality than will male lead performers in terms of suggestive gestures, facial expressions, and attire.”

From most of the videos watched we found that men usually objectified the women. 0n the other hand, women usually objectified themselves, While women were much more sexually suggestive, men were more dominant and aggressive. An example of the suggestiveness would be Miley Cyrus‘ “Wrecking Ball” which caused a stir this past year as Cyrus can be seen completely naked swinging on a giant wrecking ball. Lastly, we found Wallis’ fourth hypothesis to be true as well. This hypothesis is, “male lead performers would engage in more non verbal displays of aggressive than will female lead performers.” As stated previously, our groups findings showed male leads displayed more explicit aggression as well as aggression with sexuality However, because our group watched more female led videos, the numbers of aggression do not come out high, but the low amount of videos with male leads we watched accounts for this discrepancy.

An example of this aggression can be seen in “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem fettering Rihanna where the male lead is continually physically and verbally abusive to his girlfriend All of Wallis’ hypothesis’ were found in the pop music videos my group watched. In sum, one suggestion our group found is that parents should monitor what their child watches from the pop music genre Videos are filled with endless amounts of aggression, dominance, and overt sexual displays from artists. These are some images parents may not want their child to see. Because the age of the Internet and television makes these types of videos more accessible to youth, parents should be vigilant of what their children watch. In addition, we also found that pop encourages children in various ways Because of the high female presence, young girls can have idols to look up to.

However, when said idols sexualize themselves for success, this can leave harmful impressions upon our youth. We feel the confidence and empowerment these performers encourage children, but the sexualization of their bodies is not positive. We feel as a genre pop should focus on talent rather than looks and the sexualization of artists, A positive example of this type of pop artist is Taylor Swift, Swift has written all of her songs, plays a number of instruments, is the boss of her own business decisions, and does all of this extremely successfully all the while refraining from objectifying herself Her new song “Shake It Off” encourages fans to embrace who they are and to continuing being themselves despite those trying to get them down Overall, pop is an incredibly diverse genre with its faults that will be improve upon with time.

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The Objectification of Women in the Pop Music Genre. (2022, Dec 16). Retrieved from

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